Booster (rocketry)

Booster (rocketry)

In spaceflight, a booster may be either:
* an entire launch vehicle or "launcher" used to lift a spacecraft. Initially all boosters used for human spaceflight and most unmanned boosters used liquid propellant, at least for the core launch vehicle.
* a strap-on rocket, (either a solid rocket booster or liquid rocket booster) used to augment the lift capability of a core launch vehicle


As examples of the first meaning, the booster for most of the Mercury manned program was the Atlas, for Gemini it was a Titan II, and for Apollo it was usually the Saturn V.As an example of the second meaning, the Titan III used strap-on boosters.

The Space Shuttle program was the first time solid rockets were used in U.S. manned space launches. "Booster" can refer to either the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, or to the entire vehicle as it ascends under powered flight, even after the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned.

When using strap-on boosters, the core vehicle is sometimes ignited concurrently at liftoff (as in the Space Shuttle), or sometimes the vehicle lifts off solely using strap-on boosters, and core is ignited at altitude (Titan III).

Other uses

Another use of the term "booster" in spaceflight is the Booster Systems Engineer, whose call sign is, Booster. This is a support position at NASA's Mission Control Center.

In aviation, boosters are often called JATO rockets. Solid rocket boosters were planned for the some Air Force programs such as the X-20 Dyna-Soar, but were ultimately never used.

Various missiles also use solid rocket boosters. Examples are;
*2K11 (SA-4) which uses SRBs as a first stage, and then a ramjet.
*S-200 (SA-5) which uses SRBs as the first stage, followed by a solid fuel rocket.
*Surface launched versions of the turbojet powered Boeing Harpoon use an SRB.

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